WACSI Rolls Out First Ever Course on Social Accountability for CSOs in Liberia – 296 CSO Reps Benefit

WACSI Rolls Out First Ever Course on Social Accountability for CSOs in Liberia – 296 CSO Reps Benefit

In West Africa, state institutions and public service delivery are still very fragile, inefficient and not meeting the expectations of community citizens. In many countries, public institutions are progressively being strengthened, with most countries steadily shifting away from humanitarian governance a by-product of years of conflict. This has initiated a change of paradigm that calls for a need to nurture national and sub-national CSOs capacities to engage in the promotion of good governance, human rights, (specifically women’s rights) and development at large through citizen-led accountability mechanisms,” Charles Vandyck, Head, Capacity Development Unit, (West Africa Civil Society Institute (WACSI).

This assertion, according to Vandyck, justifies the existence of the West Africa Civil Society Institute (WACSI). It provides a synoptic rationale for the work the Institute does. Since its establishment in 2005, the West Africa civil society Institute (WACSI) has trained many CSOs across the ECOWAS sub-region and the world at large. Making its legitimacy unparalleled. in view of this, foreign agencies and most actors within the civil society ecosystem sees the need to associate and partner with WACSI.

This goodwill attracted the Development Education Network-Liberia (DEN-L) with the Support of the UN Women, the Spotlight Initiative in collaboration with the EU to contract WACSI to deliver a social accountability training workshop for 296 representatives of civil society organisations (CSOs) across five counties in Liberia. The training was organised from 10 October 2020 through the 8 November 2020. In each county, the training lasted for three days. It sought to respond to the capacity challenges organisations face in driving the citizen accountability processes within their respective communities and counties.

According to Vandyck, “the development of a training curriculum and course on social accountability provides an opportunity for CSOs to deepen their knowledge of social accountability concepts tools, strategies, develop capacities to effectively implement social accountability initiatives and create a community of practice which is an avenue for sharing best practices through periodic peer learning and exchange among citizens groups in the region.”

The workshop on social accountability for CSOs in Liberia brought together organisations from five counties across the country: including Montserrado, Grand Cape Mount, Nimba, Lofa and Grand Gedeh. The facilitation team was led by Charles Kojo Vandyck, Head of the Capacity Development Unit at WACSI, and he was ably supported by Gervin Chanase the Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning Programmes Officer at WACSI. They made sure all the facilitation approaches used were inclusive and participatory enough, a characteristic of WACSI’s principal standard: where all participants are given equal opportunities to contribute to the learning and sharing process.“WACSI embraces a bottom-up approach to strengthening civil society and this development fits perfectly with our convictions and vision for active citizenship within the region”, Vandyck admits.

The primary objectives of the training were to; (i)enhance the skills of the CSOs to implement innovative social accountability initiatives in their respective communities, (ii) reinforce the CSOs’ effective engagement in promoting social accountability in Liberia, and (iii) influence the CSOs to initiate a community of practice of social accountability practitioners, advocates, and champions in Liberia. The training workshop was divided into 7 sessions covering the following key areas: Introduction to Rights-Based Approach and Social Accountability, Participatory Planning and Decision Making, Budget Monitoring, and Development Outcomes Monitoring & Action Planning.

Each training per county benefitted large groups of about 60 participants per county. Although this had its own peculiar challenges in sustaining attention and facilitating learning throughout the training, participants found the training to be worthwhile.

A participant from Grand Cape Mount county commended the facilitators and said, “my impression about the training’s delivery is good based on how the presenter presented the lessons to the participants. After every topic, he asked participants for feedback about the lesson. I, therefore, congratulate the trainers and I wish the training continues’’.

Another gratified representative from the Lofa county expressed his heartfelt gratitude.” The training was very good, and I am well impressed to have a full understanding of social accountability. Congratulations to the WACSI team for such a timely training’’, he said.

This is the first training on Social Accountability being delivered by WACSI. The Institute has a longstanding reputation for documenting social accountability engagements of civil society actors in West Africa. These were published in the Social Accountability Guidebook volume 1 and volume 2 with support from the Open Society Initiative for West Africa (OSIWA), Hewlett Foundation and Ford Foundation.

Translating the content of the Guidebook into hands-on training for the benefit of CSOs is a significant milestone for WACSI. “The development of a guidebook and the subsequent development of a training curriculum and course on social accountability provides an opportunity for CSOs to deepen their knowledge of social accountability…”, Vandyck says.

“This is an important milestone for WACSI. It was an opportunity to test and utilise the experiences and approaches that were documented in the two editions of the social accountability guidebook. Social accountability is a key component of WACSI’s resilience and sustainability work. This is essential because it provides an opportunity for the Institute to work with grassroots groups, networks and have a deeper understanding of governance at the sub-national context within the region,” he concludes.

In West Africa, state institutions and public service delivery are still very fragile, inefficient and not meeting the expectations of community citizens. In many countries, public institutions are progressively being strengthened, with most countries steadily shifting away from humanitarian governance a by-product of years of conflict. This has initiated a change of paradigm that calls for a need to nurture national and sub-national CSOs capacities to engage in the promotion of good governance, human rights, (specifically women’s rights) and development at large through citizen-led accountability mechanisms.
Therefore, the development of a guidebook and the subsequent development of a training curriculum and course on social accountability provides an opportunity for CSOs to deepen their knowledge of social accountability concepts tools, strategies, develop capacities to effectively implement social accountability initiatives and create a community of practice which is an avenue for sharing best practices through periodic peer learning and exchange among citizens groups in the region.

This is an important milestone for WACSI. It was an opportunity to test and utilise the experiences and approaches that were documented in the two editions of the social accountability guidebook. Social accountability is a key component of WACSI’s resilience and sustainability work. This is essential because it provides an opportunity for the Institute to work with grassroots groups, networks and have a deeper understanding of governance at the sub-national context within the region. WACSI embraces a bottom-up approach to strengthening civil society and this development fits perfectly with our convictions and vision for the active citizenship within the region.

About the author

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Robert Oppong is a Ghanaian. He holds Bachelor of Arts in Communication with a speciality in Development Communication. He is a gender and a social activist with great knowledge in participatory communication, international governance and development.

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Robert Oppong

Robert Oppong is a Ghanaian. He holds Bachelor of Arts in Communication with a speciality in Development Communication. He is a gender and a social activist with great knowledge in participatory communication, international governance and development.

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FIIFI BOATENG

Fiifi is a Ghanaian and currently serves as Communications and Information Officer at the West Africa Civil Society Institute. He joined the Institute in December 2020.

NANCY KANKAM KUSI

Nancy is a Ghanaian and currently serves as Programme Officer in the Knowledge Management unit at the West Africa Civil Society Institute. She joined the Institute in January 2021.

AGNES ADWOA ANIMA

Agnes is a Ghanaian and currently serves as Head of the Administration unit in the West Africa Civil Society Institute (WACSI). She joined the Institute in October 2021.

DORIS ODEI

Doris holds a Bachelor of Arts in Social sciences (Economics and Sociology) from the University of Cape Coast. She is passionate about impacting young lives hence co-founded Impart Foundation. A non-profit organization which seeks to empower young lives through education, technology and entrepreneurship.

PRINCE AKOWUAH

Prince Akowuah is a Ghanaian and currently the Programme Assistant in the Translation Unit at the West Africa Civil Society Institute (WACSI). She joined the Institute in 2020.

MAXWELL APENTENG

Maxwell Apenteng is a Ghanaian and joined WACSI in September 2010. He provides gardening and janitorial services at the Institute.

GEORGE ADU-MINTAH

George Adu-Mintah is a Ghanaian and currently the Protocol Assistant/Driver at the West Africa Civil Society (WACSI). He joined the Institute in October 2006.

IBRAHIM KWAKU GBADAGO

Ibrahim Kwaku Gbadago is a Ghanaian. He joined the Institute in 2008 and provides janitorial services and assisting the institute's errands. Before joining the Institute, he worked at the Palestinian embassy in Accra, Ghana.

RUTH YAKANA

Ruth Yakana is from Cameroon and currently the Receptionist at the West Africa Civil Society Institute (WACSI). She joined the Institute in 2020.

BETHEL KWAME BOATENG

Bethel is a Ghanaian. He provides technical and IT related support to the Institute. He joined the Institute in October 2006.

WHITNAY SEGNONNA

Whitnay Segnonna holds a Bachelor’s Degree in International Management from the University of Benin. With 2 years of experience, she has a strong knowledge of organizational and project management. Combined with her bilingualism, she is very passionate about her work. She joined WACSI as Project Assistant on Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund (CEPF) for the Capacity Development Unit.

STELLA YAWA WOWOUI

Stella Yawa Wowoui holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Translation Studies. She has a perfect grasp of both French and English, as well as an intermediate level in Spanish. She is currently working as a Project Assistant on the Techsoup Project.

KWAME ASANTE

Kwame is an experienced IT Consultant/Software Developer. He is skilled in Web Applications Development, Digital Security, Database Management, Digital Marketing and Brand Management. He holds a Bachelor's Degree in Information Technology and is a Microsoft Programme Alumni. He is currently serving as a Marketing and IT Officer on the Techsoup Project.

GRACE AKPENE ZIGGAH

Grace Akpene Ziggah is a Togolese and currently the Logistics Officer and also assists in administration duties at the West Africa Civil Society Institute (WACSI). She joined the Institute in June 2009.

LILLIAN DAFEAMEKPOR

Lilian Dafeamekpor is a Ghanaian and currently the Assistant to the Executive Director at the West Africa Civil Society Institute (WACSI). She joined the Institute in 2020.

JOHN P. FRINJUAH

John P. Frinjuah has expertise and interests in civil society, international development, democracy and governance, conflict, crisis, and security. He has extensive experience working with civil society and international development organizations where he supported and managed research, programmes, and provided technical assistance on a variety of themes around public policy, governance, and development. He is an alumnus of the University of Ghana and the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy - Tufts University in the United States, with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Master of Arts in Law and Diplomacy from two institutions respectively. John speaks English, French and several Ghanaian and regional West Africa languages.

GERVIN CHANASE

Gervin has extensive international development experience, including 5 years of policy advocacy and capacity building of grass root organisations. He has implemented over the years a combination of agriculture value chain, livelihood, food security and governance and rights programmes.
Prior to joining WACSI, Gervin worked on two USAID projects focusing on agriculture value chain development and governance in northern Ghana
Gervin holds a master’s degree in development & Governance from the University of Duisburg-Essen, Germany as well as a Masters in Global Studies from the Universities of Vienna (Austria), Leipzig (Germany) and California (Santa Barbara), USA. He is passionate social justice and inclusion.

LEANDRE BANON

Leandre Banon, Beninese, joined WACSI in September 2014 as Capacity Development Programme Assistant. Since then, he has worked in various units within the Institute to support operational and institutional capacity strengthening programmes for civil society in the region. Currently serving as Capacity Development Programme Officer at WACSI, his main responsibilities involve designing, planning, implementing and monitoring capacity development programmes for civil society constituents and grouping across the West Africa. Leandre is a certified Change the Game Academy Programme Trainer. His background lies in the areas of economics and development planning.

SAMUEL APPIAH

Samuel Appiah is a Ghanaian and currently the Programme Officer in the Finance and Administrative Unit at the West Africa Civil Society Institute (WACSI). He joined the Institute in May, 2016.

JIMM CHICK FOMUNJONG

Jimm Chick Fomunjong, Cameroonian, joined WACSI in May 2018 as the Head of the Knowledge Management and Communication Units of the Institute. He has over ten years’ experience as a journalist and a development communications expert. He has a vast experience in supporting African organisations to strengthen their internal and external communications, building and sustaining relationships with the media and, leveraging on the power of social media to promote their mission. He is also excellent at supporting organisations to set up and operationalise functional communications and knowledge management systems. He has a deep passion and expertise in supporting Africans and African civil society organisations to document their praxis, share and learn from experiences documented from the African civil society sector.

FRANCK A. SOMBO

Franck Sombo is a development practitioner with the drive to lead self and others to influence productivity and efficiency. His work involves supporting organisations to develop strategic plans, design monitoring and evaluation systems, develop and use relevant performance measurement tools to track progress, assess organizational growth and institutionalise learning. Franck has eight years of experience working with WACSI where he currently serves as the Head, Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning. His academic qualifications include Masters in Organisations’ and Projects’ Management, and in Business Sciences and a High National Diploma in Finance and Accounting.

Franck is a Fellow of the International Program for Development Evaluation Training (IPDET) and a graduate of the Graduate Training Institute (GTI) - Ghana with specialization in Strategic Management and Corporate Leadership. He has a rich experience in Project Management, Capacity Development, Strategic planning, Data Analytics, Monitoring and Evaluation, Training and Facilitation, Mentoring and Coaching among others.

OMOLARA T. BALOGUN

Omolara is a development practitioner and advocacy strategist with over 10 years progressive experience in development programming targeted at strengthening civil society in West Africa. She joined WACSI in November 2009 as an Advocacy Consultant. And later became the first Policy Advocacy Officer in 2010 and Head of Policy Influencing and Advocacy unit in 2015. As head, she offers strategic direction to the institutes’ ambitions to connect and convene groups of organized and organic civil society actors; and influence regional and global discourses on crosscutting policy issues including—civil society regulations, sustainable development goals, civic space and enabling environment, aid effectiveness, gender equality.


Previously, Omolara served as a Service Development Marshal at TVQ Consulting Group, a customer service firm focused on designing strategic customer relationship and business growth plans for private and public financial institutions in Nigeria. She also served as a Programmes Associate with the Women in Peace and Security Network-Africa where she teamed up to design and implement two programmes on—multidimensional peace support operations and gender mainstreaming in security sector reform in Ghana, Sierra Leone and Liberia.

KWABENA KRODUAH

Kwabena Kroduah is a Ghanaian and currently heads the Finance Unit at the West Africa Civil Society Institute (WACSI). He joined the Institute in January 2008.

CHARLES KOJO VANDYCK

Charles currently serves as the Head of the Capacity Development Unit at the West Africa Civil Society Institute (WACSI). Charles has over 10 years of experience working in international development and social justice issues in Africa. Charles has expertise in strengthening civil society and public agencies including the design and implementation of governance and leadership programmes, development of knowledge pieces and policy advice. Charles was the founding Board Chair of Innovation for Change (i4C)-Hub Afrique, as well as the founding member of the International Consortium on Closing Civic Space (iCon), an initiative of the Centre for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) in Washington DC. Charles currently serves as the Member of the Governing Board (Coordination Collective) of Africans Rising. He is a Member of the Development Studies Association, United Kingdom. Charles is a 2017 Stanford University Fellow for Nonprofit Leaders and a certified Change the Game Resource Mobilisation Trainer.

NANA ASANTEWA AFADZINU

Nana Afadzinu is a Ghanaian and currently serves as the Executive Director of the West Africa Civil Society Institute (WACSI). She joined the Institute in October 2010.